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Loyola Responds To Alumni’s Unemployment Complaints by Shrinking Enrollment
When the Recession has hit the legal market especially bad, with too many JDs arriving at the scene saddled with six-figure debt, and too few employers willing to take them on, the simple law of Compensations dictates that “something must be done.” That “something,” is exemplified well by Loyola Law School’s decision, in response to its alumni complaining that they can’t find employment, to do something unprecedented for the university: they are going to take on fewer students.
Not only them, but a 2012 Kaplan Test Prep survey found that 51 percent of law schools have shrunk their enrollment. And it only makes sense that these schools ought to put fewer lawyers out there if fewer lawyers are going to get hired.
“It’s common sense,” said Brian Z. Tamanaha, a law professor at Washington University in St. Louis, as reported by the Los Angeles Times. “People know that a lot of graduates are not doing well and that [law school] is a huge expense, so they question if it’s really worth it.”
After all, Loyola’s dean, Victor Gold, who was part of the decision to enroll 20 fewer applicants this year, said that unemployment “is the No. 1 complaint. It’s also the No. 2 complaint.”
“Schools are in a tough financial position. Rankings should not drive students away or toward schools, but they do,” said Paul L. Caron, a law professor at Pepperdine University. “So small moves can have very significant consequences.”
By accepting fewer students, and choosing the better qualified, a university can also bolster its ranking, a relevant concern for Loyola , which fell from 51st to 68th in ranking. So a concern for ranking makes cuts a wise move as well, though concern for students who can’t get jobs is also important:
“It kills me,” said Gold, “when our graduates pay what they pay and can’t find a job.”